Susan Puckett is a food writer and editor who has authored or collaborated on many books. Her latest endeavor is a travelogue with recipes called "Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler's Journey Through the Soul of the South."
Susan was the food editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly 19 years before leaving in 2008 to pursue independent projects. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, she is a longtime member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Association of Food Journalists. Her forte throughout her career has been finding and telling food stories with a sense of place.
At her first newspaper job fresh out of the Ole Miss journalism school, she wrote stories about working gristmills, cushaw melons, molasses-making and other fading food traditions around the state. The paper compiled those pieces in a book, "A Cook's Tour of Mississippi," with an introduction by famed Mississippi writer Willie Morris.
It was this experience that led her to study food in-depth at Iowa State University, where she wrote her second book, "A Cook's Tour of Iowa." Noted American regional food writers Jane and Michael Stern praised it as "an account of the way Americans really eat...a rarity within gastronomic literature."
Since then, Susan has written about food for numerous newspapers and magazines around the country. While at the AJC, she and her staff garnered dozens of awards for writing and editing from the James Beard Foundation and the Association of Food Journalists. In 2008, she was one of five newspaper food editors recognized by Saveur magazine in their annual top 100 tribute to food-related people, places and things.
Today, Susan writes a monthly feature for Atlanta Magazine called Home Plates, in which she challenges local chefs to reinterpret old Southern recipes from their own family recipe files for the modern table. She also collaborates with several chefs and food professionals on their book projects.
This spring, she will be teaching a depth reporting class at Ole Miss with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Rose, in which journalism students will delve deeply into the role food plays in the economy and health of the Mississippi Delta.
Susan lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her journalist husband, Ralph Ellis, and their sweet, snaggle-toothed rescued greyhound, Laney.
Susan's Food Writing Philosophy
The stories that speak to all of us share one universal truth: We all have to eat.